Golf Tidbits: Does Furyk have a closing problem?

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Updated: 7/29 3:37 pm

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jim Furyk has been one of the most consistent players over the last 18 years on the PGA Tour. He has earned over $1 million in 17 of those 18 seasons and has won in 10 of those 18 years.

His resume is nearly Hall of Fame worthy, and I say nearly because the new Hall of Fame rules state that a player needs two or more major championships and Furyk is one short there.

Furyk has wins in 12 different years, but has only three years with multiple victories. And his last win was at the 2010 Tour Championship.

Since that victory, Furyk has coughed up his last seven 54-hole leads. Coughed up may be strong terminology, but he lost all seven nonetheless. In those seven final rounds, Furyk's scoring average is 70.29, which isn't terrible. But those seven that beat him have averaged 65.14.

Does Furyk get too tentative? Is he not aggressive enough? Only he could answer that question, but clearly the seven players that have won those titles out-played him in the final round.

Though all seven have shot lower than Furyk in those final rounds, he hasn't helped himself in some of those events.

Furyk double-bogeyed the 18th to lose the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Furyk had led the entire round, but hit a poor chip at the last, then missed a 5-footer for bogey that would have forced a playoff.

At the 2012 U.S. Open, he bogeyed two of the last three holes to lose by two. He didn't record a single birdie in that final round, and his snap-hook tee shot on the 16th hole was probably the worst drive he's hit on the PGA Tour.

Then at the 2013 PGA Championship, Furyk again bogeyed the final two holes to lose by two to Jason Dufner, who also bogeyed the last two holes.

Last week, Tim Clark fired a 65 to rally and beat Furyk, who led after the second and third rounds.

Furyk said on Tuesday that he felt his "struck the ball as well as, or better than every player in the field last week." Yet, Clark was still able to rally for the win.

Those are just a few examples, and his closing issues are not just in regular PGA Tour events. He lost a crucial Sunday singles match to Sergio Garcia at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

In that match, Furyk was 1-up after 16 holes, then proceeded to bogey the final two holes to lose the match and possibly the Ryder Cup itself.

These issues haven't always been the case, of course. Prior to losing seven in a row, Furyk had won nine of the 17 times he led entering the final round. Among those nine wins, he had runs of four wins in five events and three wins in four events.

In eight of his nine wins with the 54-hole lead, Furyk has shot par or better in the final round to earn the win. Furyk had seven come-from-behind victories between 1996 and 2007. In those wins, his final round scoring average was 66.14

The issues he has had over the last four years haven't all been self- inflicted, but he hasn't helped himself either.

With a big stretch of seven events in the next nine weeks, Furyk's closing ability will be put to the test. The final event of those seven is the Ryder Cup, and you can bet U.S. captain Tom Watson is paying attention to what Furyk is doing in the weeks leading up to that event.

MCCOY, SAUCON READY FOR THE MID-AMATEUR

Mike McCoy will defend his U.S. Mid-Amateur crown at Saucon Valley Country Club in September and his year as the reigning champion has been a special one.

Along with playing in the Masters, McCoy also qualified for the U.S. Senior Open Championship, where he finished as low amateur.

He said that it has been a "great feeling" to be introduced as the U.S. Mid- Amateur champion at events he has competed in this season. Drawing on his previous experience, he knows that defending his title will be difficult because the championship is both mentally and physically grueling.

Plenty of eyes will be on McCoy as he defends his title on the Old Course at Saucon Valley, which will be hosting its seventh USGA Championship. The course is relatively flat on the front side, but gets more hilly on the back nine and that will come into play as far as players stamina goes.

While McCoy will garner his fair share of attention, last year's stroke-play medalist - Matthew Mattare - will have even more eyes on him. Mattare is a member at Saucon Valley, having grown up playing at the club. His father, who will be busy helping run the championship, is the club's general manager and Director of Golf.

McCoy and Mattare will headline the event being contested on a tree-lined course that will have quick, challenging greens and healthy rough. A recent restoration also deepened the bunkers, which will make for difficult shots, especially from the fairway bunkers.

I was unlucky enough to have found some awkward lies in some greenside bunkers, so they are far from pushovers.

The best part about Saucon is how the USGA will set it up. They can move the tees up on several holes to tempt players to try to drive the green, or they can push the tees all the way back to make some of the already long holes, even longer.

McCoy, Mattare and the rest of the field will have their hands full, that's for sure.

MINI-TIDBITS

- The first International Crown was a success for the LPGA Tour even though the United States team failed to make the singles matches on Sunday. The U.S. faced Korea in a playoff for the right to get into Sunday's singles play. Though the one-hole playoff for that final spot may need to be tweaked, there wasn't much time left at the end of Saturday's play due to the painfully slow pace of play. Not to name names, but some of the players that aren't fast to begin with were even slower in the match play format. More groups needed to be put on the clock.

- Bernhard Langer put together another dominating win at the Senior British Open. As good as he has been since joining the tour in 2007, he is still only halfway to Hale Irwin's tour record of 45 wins. That mark may be out of reach for Langer.

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